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but Bolingbroke cleverly turned the tables on his opponents
by presenting the leading actor. Booth, with fifty guineas
for defending the cause of liberty so well against a perpetual
dictator.

On the 5th of May, 171 3, peace was proclaimed in London,
and was received with universal rejoicing.

The Peace of Utrecht is Bolingbroke's best known
achievement. His reputation as a statesman is closely
bound up with it ; and no judgment of his character and
abilities would be complete without a careful consideration
of the necessity of the Peace, and of the means by which it
was brought about. Its conclusion marks the overthrow
of that Whig foreign policy which aimed at establishing
great Continental alliances, to uphold and support the
Parliamentary Settlement. According to the Whig view,
France, the ally of the Pretender, was England's enemy,
and therefore should be deprived of all means of endanger-
ing England's liberty and independence. By the Peace of
Utrecht the foreign guarantees of the Parliamentary Settle-
ment were now in great part destroyed, and the Tory policy
of freeing England from her Continental connections was
triumphant. There is no doubt that peace was necessary



THE PEACE OF UTRECHT 67

and expedient. The death of the Emperor Joseph in 171 1
made it impossible for Enghsh statesmen to labour for the
revival of the Empire of Charles V. England too had
nothing to gain by the continuance of the war. She had
borne by far the largest part of the expense, and the war
had cost her fifty-three millions. Bolingbroke, in a letter
to Lord Raby on May the 6th, 171 1, sums up admirably
some of the reasons for making peace without delay : —

" We are now in the tenth campaign of a war, the great load of which
has fallen on Britain, as the great advantage of it is proposed to redound
to the House of Austria and to the States-General. They are in interest
more immediately, we more remotely, concerned. However, what by our
forwardness to engage in every article of expense, what by our private
assurances, and what by our public Parliamentary declarations, that no
peace should be made without the entire restitution of the Spanish
monarchy, we are become principals in the contest ; the war is looked upon
as our war, and it is treated accordingly by the confederates, even by the
Imperialists and by the Dutch. . . .

"... On the other hand, our Allies have always looked first at home,
and the common cause has been served by the best of them in the second
place. From hence it is that our commerce has been neglected, while the
French have engrossed the South Sea trade to themselves, and the Dutch
encroach daily upon us, both in the East Indies and upon the coast of
Africa. From hence it is that we have every year added to our burden,
which was long ago greater than we could bear, whilst the Dutch have
yearly lessened their proportions in every part of the war, even in that of
Flanders, on the pretence of poverty.

"Whilst the Emperor has never employed twenty of his ninety thousand
men against France, on account of the troubles in Hungary, which he
would not accommodate, nor has suffered our vast expenses in Italy to be
effectual on account of articles in which it did not suit with his conveniency
to keep his word, and whilst each of the other confederates in his turn
has, from some false pretence, or from some trifling consideration of
private advantage, neglected to perform his part in the wars, or given a
reason to the others for not performing theirs ; from hence it is that our fleet
is diminished and rotten, that our funds are mortgaged for thirty-two and
ninety-nine years, that our specie is exhausted, and that we have nothing
in possession, and hardly anything in expectation, as a compensation to
Britain for having borne the burden and heat of the day ; whilst Holland
has obtained a secure and even formidable barrier ; . . . whilst the House
of Austria has everything in hand, a la Sicile pres, which they proposed by



68 HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE



the war. . . . From hence, in one word, it is that our Government is in
consumption, and that our vitals are consuming, and we must inevitably
sink at once ; add to this, that if we were able to bear the same proportion
of charge some years longer, yet, from the fatal consequences, should cer-
tainly miss the great general end of the war, the entire recovery of the
Spanish monarchy from the House of Bourbon."

The means by which the Minister brought about the
Peace have been almost universally condemned. His
political correspondence has been generally regarded as " a
mass of duplicity and falsehood." Mr. Lecky, while allow-
ing that some separate explanations with the French was
justifiable, condemns " the tortuous proceedings that ter-
minated in the Peace of Utrecht" as "one of the most
shameful pages in English history." Yet, allowing that
many of the actions of the Ministers in conducting the
negotiations appear indefensible, and that secret negotiations
and arrangements behind the backs of allies are never
pleasant to contemplate, there is something to be said for
the course adopted. It must be remembered that peace
without delay was absolutely necessary for the carrying out
of the Tory policy. In 1706, in 1709, and in 1710, peace
negotiations had been wrecked mainly through the obstinacy
of the Dutch and Imperialists. Unless English Ministers
entered into some understanding with the French, it was
certain that the peace negotiations would again end in
failure. The conduct of the Dutch and Imperialists through-
out the war had been so selfish, they had so often acted dis-
loyally to England, they had so frequently broken the
engagements of the Grand Alliance to suit their own con-
venience, that, allowing that a policy of retaliation was
unworthy of Great Britain, it is quite impossible to sym-
pathize with their rage and disappointment on finding that
England was determined to make peace.

Again, in the latter part of 17 10 and early part of 1711,
the Tory Ministry was in a precarious position. " They
stood," said Swift, "like an isthmus between the extreme



THE PEACE OF UTRECHT 69

Tories and the violent Whigs." PubHc opinion was in
favour of the expulsion of the Bourbons from Spain, and
till public opinion had been educated it would have been
dangerous to reveal the character of the negotiations. This
uncertainty as to the reception of the terms of peace by the
nation undoubtedly was one of the principal reasons of the
secret correspondence with France. The premature dis-
covery of the negotiations in 171 1 would have probably led
to the ruin, if not to the impeachment of the Ministers.
Again, Ministers were far more dependent upon ihe royal
favour than they are at the present day. The personal
influence of the Queen on the body of the nation was im-
mense. The accession of Anne had been followed by Whig
defeats at the polling-booths, and by large Tory majorities.
Had Anne taken umbrage at the character of the peace
proposals and dissolved Parliament, there is no doubt that
the reverence felt for her would have resulted in the return
of a large Whig majority bent on vengeance. Until they
felt assured of concessions that would satisfy all classes in
England, especially the commercial class, the Ministers
naturally did not think it advisable to declare openly their
intention of taking no further part in hostilities against the
French. This, it seems, is the true explanation of the means
adopted by Oxford and Bolingbroke to bring about peace.

The terms, too, have been criticized by writers who
obviously have never realized that the conclusion of peace
was a matter of life and death to the Ministers, and that the
opposition offered by the Dutch and Imperialists to any
but the most extravagant conditions rendered Bolingbroke's
task unusually difficult. No one would now assert that
the Dutch secured a "barrier" which at all compensated
them for their long and successful struggle against France.
It is impossible not to regret what has been called the
desertion of the Catalans, and writers have one and all
written as though Bolingbroke had deliberately given up



70 HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE

the Catalans to the vengeance of Philip. Bolingbroke was
fully aware of the claim of our faithful Catalan Allies on
English consideration. Again and again he had during the
negotiations exerted himself on their behalf. After his visit
to Paris in August, 171 1, Torcy wrote that, in accordance
with St. John's representations, " Le roi depeche un courrier
a Madrid et conseille au roi d'Espagned'accorder un pardon
aux Catalans, et je ne doute pas qu'il ne suive un aussi
bon avis." As late as February the 3rd, 1713, he wrote to
Strafford to insist on the restoration of the Catalans to
their ancient privileges. Unfortunately for his reputation,
Bolingbroke did not make the restoration of the Catalans to
their ancient privileges and their protection from Philip's
hostility one of the express conditions of the Peace, but his
language to Strafford leaves no doubt that he thought there
would be no difficulty in securing to them their rights. But
during the months immediately preceding the conclusion of
peace Bolingbroke's hands were full. Ministers could not
meet ParHament till the Peace had been signed. The
death of Louis XIV. mig t take place any day ; Anne's
health was most precarious. All sorts of delays occurred.
The Peace was signed at last with the greatest haste, and
Philip's promise was taken as sufficient security. But the
Catalans opposed the Peace, refused to lay down their
arms, and so played into the hands of the Spaniards.
Philip considered himself absolved from his promise, and
so the unfortunate necessity of hurrying on the Peace of
Utrecht led Bolingbroke into the oversight which has cast
the greatest blot on his statesmanship.

No fault can be found with the advantages gained for
Great Britain. Bolingbroke fully realized the importance
of the possession of Gibraltar, and in establishing English
influence in the Mediterranean, and in securing an advan-
tageous position in North America, he anticipated the
policy of the elder Pitt and of Lord Beaconsfield.



THE PEACE OF UTRECHT 71

In gaining considerable trade concessions, he showed a
clear appreciation of the fact that England's interests were
colonial and commercial, rather than European and political.
That foreign statesmen did not think he neglected English
interests may be gathered from the fact that when Torcy,
in the summer of 171 1, was first made acquainted with the
British demands in favour of their commerce, he felt con-
vinced that the granting of them would throw the whole
trade of the world into British hands. From Spain
Bolingbroke obtained trading advantages then regarded as
considerable, in virtue of an arrangement known as The
Asiento compact, in accordance with which England was to
enjoy the privilege of supplying for thirty years some
portion of the Spanish colonies in South America, as well
as the Spanish West Indies, with negroes. The further
important privilege of sending annually one ship, of
500 tons burden, to Spanish South America with merchan-
dise, was also secured. In procuring for English traders
an opening in South America, Bolingbroke was successfully
carrying out a policy which Elizabeth and Cromwell had
in vain attempted to inaugurate. Henceforward English
interests increase in South America, English trading forces
its way into the Spanish colonies, and Walpole, in 1739,
finds himself much against his will compelled to recognize
the demands of English merchants and to continue
Bolingbroke's policy.

Bolingbroke's Commercial Treaty with France marks the
first though premature attempt to establish a policy of Re-
ciprocity and anticipated the Commercial Treaty made with
France by the younger Pitt in 1786. He had formed great
hopes of the advantages to be gained from such a treaty.

" I believe it will be of no use," he had written during the negotiations
to the Duke of Shrewsbury, "to insinuate to Monsieur de Torcy that as,
among other things, the factious people here intend, by their opposition to
the settlement of any trade with France, to keep the two nations estranged



72 HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE

from each other, to cultivate the prejudices which have been formerly
raised, and which during two long wars have taken deep root, and also to
prevent the wearing of them out, which would be the natural necessary
consequence of an open advantageous trade ; so we on our part, and the
Ministers of France on theirs, ought to counterwork their designs, and to
finish what relates to commerce more in the character of statesmen than of
merchants."

But Bolingbroke was not to be permitted to carry out his
liberal commercial policy, and the Treaty of Commerce was
violently opposed by the trading classes. After a prolonged
debate, in which the celebrated 8th and 9th Fair Trade
clauses were defended by Arthur Moore, their draftsman,
the defection of Sir Thomas Hanmer to the Opposition
decided the fate of the Commercial Treaty, and the Pro-
tection system was saved by nine votes.

Bolingbroke himself in later days by no means regarded
the Treaty of Utrecht with unmixed satisfaction. On his
retirement in 1735 to Chanteloup, in Touraine, he wrote to
Lord Cornbury : —

"I shall not be surprised if you think that the Peace of Utrecht was
not answerable to the success of the war, nor to the efforts made in it. I
think so myself, and have always owned, even when it was making and
made, that I thought so."

And, in his letter to Sir William Wyndham, he says,

" I am far from thinking the Treaties or the negotiations which led to
them, exempt from fault."

In the same letter he points out some of the reasons why
the Peace was not altogether satisfactory. In consequence
of the policy of the Whigs, each of the Allies had been
taught " to raise his demands to the most extravagant
height"; they had been encouraged to this^ first, *' by the
engagements which we had entered into with several of
them, and secondly, by the manner in which we had treated
with France in 17 10." The conduct of the Whigs was
throughout most unpatriotic. Though a small minority of
the nation, the Whig Party was far superior in intelligence



THE PEACE OF UTRECHT 73

to the bulk of their opponents. The Whig leaders were
none the less animated with a bitter spirit of faction.
Obstruction in domestic matters is well known in the Parlia-
mentary history of the latter half of the nineteenth century,
but during the last four years of Anne's reign the Whigs did
all in their power to hamper and obstruct Ministers, who
were engaged in one of the most difficult and diplomatic
tasks ever presented to English statesmen. Bolingbroke's
own convincing indictment of the disgraceful party spirit
shown by the Whigs has, I believe, never been weakened
by any specious defence.

" If the means employed to bring about the peace were feeble, and in
one respect contemptible, those employed to break the negotiations were
strong and formidable. As soon as the first suspicion of a Treaty's being on
foot crept abroad into the world, the whole alliance united with a powerful
party in the nation to obstruct it. From that hour to the moment the
Congress of Utrecht finished, no one measure possible to be taken was
omitted to traverse every advance that was made in this work, to intimidate,
to allure, to embarrass every person concerned in it. This was done with-
out any regard either to decency or good policy, and from hence it
followed that passion and humour mingled themselves on each side. A
great part of what we did for the peace, and fur what others did against it,
can be accounted for on no other principle."

Then again, Bolingbroke had little help from his col-
leagues, while his own relations with Oxford rendered his
difficult task still more difficult. Oxford, who has been
styled *' the Prince of wire-pulling and back-stair intrigue,"
but of whose political skill there is no question, had early in
171 1 begun to regard Bolingbroke in the light of a possible
rival. Though like Walpole an excellent party manager,
Oxford, partly owing to bad health, partly through his
failure to establish his ideal government, had decidedly
deteriorated. He was at this time a vacillating, feeble
politician, a miserable, inarticulate debater, a man wanting
as a rule in decision of character, deficient in any fixed
principles of conduct or policy, timid, fond of procrastination.
Bolingbroke was a brilliant orator, clear-sighted, remarkable



74 HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE



for his iron will and resolution, full of self-confidence,
capable of conceiving and carrying out a statesmanlike
policy. It is not surprising that men so differently con-
stituted should have gradually become alienated. Several
minor matters had tended to sow distrust between them.
The attack on Oxford by Guiscard was probably meant for
Bolingbroke, and the latter's friends had openly stated their
conviction that Bolingbroke deserved the glory which Oxlord
had then gained. During Oxford's absence at that time
from the House of Commons Bolingbroke, when the matter
of the thirty-five millions unaccounted for by the Whigs was
under discussion, had refused to allow his friend Bridges,
Paymaster of the Forces under Godolphin, to be attacked.
After his recovery, Oxford appeared very seldom in the
House, and from this time the rivalry between him and
Bolingbroke may be said to have begun.

" Mr. Harley," he writes to Orrery on May the i8th, 171 1, " since his
recovery, has not appeared in the Council, or at the Treasury at all, and
very seldom in the House of Commons ; we, who are reputed to be in his
intimacy, have very few opportunities of seeing him, and none of talking
freely with him. As he is the only true channel through which the Queen's
pleasure is conveyed, so there is and must be a perfect stagnation till he is
pleased to open himself and set the water flowing."

Bolingbroke's failure to secure the coveted earldom in
1 71 2 still further alienated the two Ministers, and, as might
be expected under these circumstances, Oxford, during the
course of the negotiations, was rather a hindrance than a
help. His influence with the Queen, however, rendered him
indispensable to a Ministry in days when the Sovereign's
influence was enormous. The position held by Oxford is
well described by Bolingbroke in the following sentence :

" His concurrence was necessary to everything we did by his rank in the
State; and yet this man seemed sometimes asleep and sometimes at play."

Bolingbroke was thus throughout the negotiations in a
position in which no English statesman, while carrying
through Treaties of such magnitude as those signed at



THE PEACE OF UTRECHT 75

Utrecht, ever found himself. He never had the full con-
fidence of either the extreme or of the moderate Tories.
"The ship is rotten," said Swift on March the 4th, 171 1;
"The crew all against the Ministry." In December, 171 1,
Nottingham, with a following of extreme Tories, had
deserted the Ministry and joined the Whigs. The Whigs
openly intrigued in London with foreign envoys against the
Government ; the residences of Gallas and of Buys became
in turn the headquarters of the Whig Opposition ; the lack
of decision among his colleagues hampered the course of the
negotiations, and Oxford, who was virtually Prime Minister,
regarded Bolingbroke with suspicion, envy, and resentment.

These considerations would incline an impartial reader to
view with some charitableness the means taken to bring
about the Peace of Utrecht, and to weigh well Bolingbroke's
own explanation of the deficiencies in that Treaty. The
wonder is that with so many impediments, and in the face
ot so much hostility, with the possibility of the Queen's
death at any moment before him, Bolingbroke should have
during these two long years conducted the negotiations with
such energy and firmness, and, on the whole, with such
success. The Peace of Utrecht was a great peace, and not
unworthy of the statesman who negotiated it.

In the European struggles of the eighteenth century, the
union of France and Spain against England came about
not by dynastic but by commercial and colonial considera-
tions. As long as there was any likelihood of Philip assert-
ing his claim to the French crown, there was hostility
between the two courts ; but, as soon as Louis XV. had a
son, dynastic jealousies disappeared, and the countries found
a common ground of union in hostility to England's colonial
and commercial policy. That the Pyrenees ceased to exist
during a great part of the eighteenth century was not due
to the foreign policy of Bolingbroke in allowing a Bourbon
to rule in Spain, but to the inevitable trading rivalry



76 HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE

between England on the one hand, and France and Spain
on the other.

The War of the Spanish Succession occupies a very im-
portant position in the second Hundred Years' War between
England and France. For, though it was not till the Peace
of Paris in 1763 that England could claim to be victor in
the struggle, the power of France never recovered from the
effects of the war which was ended by the Peace of Utrecht.
France never could again, till the Revolution, adopt, with
any chance of ultimate success, the aggressive attitude
assumed by Louis XIV. She never recovered from the
financial difficulties which the Spanish Succession War
brought on her, and the army never regained its prestige
till the events following 1789 gave her new life and energy.
From 1 713, too, her social difficulties became each year
more serious.

To England the year 1713 is also a landmark, but not in
the history of her decline. For the marvellous expansion
that was in store for her, England required a long period of
peace, and the Treaty of Utrecht, like the Peace of 1815,
was followed by an extraordinary industrial development
In breaking the power of France, and in enabling England
to escape with advantage to herself from a costly war, and
so to prepare for that immense colonial and territorial de-
velopment which gave her Canada and eventually India,
Bolingbroke played an important part.

It is well to remember that the Tory policy of interfering
as little as possible on the Continent, of strengthening the
navy, of attacking the colonial possessions of our enemies
and sweeping the seas was the policy followed in very
similar circumstances by both the elder and the younger
Pitt. And to Bolingbroke must be given the credit of
having in a most remarlcable way attempted to carry out a
foreign policy so successfully adopted in the Seven Years'
War and in the struggle against Napoleon.



CHAPTER IV

THE SUCCESSION QUESTION.
1713-1714.

Possibility of a Stuart Restoration — Eolingbroke's real policy — Reasons
for the belief that he was a Jacobite — Opinion of Mr. Wyon — State
of politics on conclusion of Peace of Utrecht — The Jacobites, the
Hanoverian Tories, the Neutrals — Reconstruction of the Ministry —
The Crisis — Unpopularity of Harley's trimming policy — The Tories
rally round Bolingbroke — His extreme measures — Activity of the Whigs
— Attempt to bring the Electoral Prince into England — Rage of the
Queen — Reward offered for apprehension of the Pretender — End of the
Session, July 9 — Approach of the Crisis — Dismissal of Oxford, July 27
— The Treasury to be put in Commission — Difficulty in choosing Com-
missioners — Illness of the Queen — Shrewsbury appointed Treasurer —
Death of Anne — Ruin of Eolingbroke's plans — His failure due to
various causes — Policy and position of Shrewsbury— A consideration
of Eolingbroke's policy at the end of Anne's reign — Vigour of Whigs.

The Peace of Utrecht was a great step towards the con-
soHdation of the Tory party, but it was hardly concluded
before the party was once more divided by the pressing ques-
tion of the Succession.

The possibility of a Stuart Restoration on the death of
Anne has often been debated. It has been the general
opinion, till very recent years, that the whole object of
Eolingbroke's policy was a Stuart Restoration, that all his
measures were taken with that end in view, and that, had
the Queen lived a month or two longer, the overthrow of the
Act of Settlement would have been followed by the return of
the Pretender to St. James's.

The Scotch Jacobites and the French Ministers were con-

77



78 HENRY ST. JOHN, VISCOUNT BOLINGBROKE


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